Page 1 of Breathe into Me

I couldn't believe it. Here I was, standing outside the dorm room I'd be living in with my best friend, Jessi. I took a deep breath as I stared at the grain in the wooden door that held the room I would call home for the next ten months. Looking back six years ago, I never thought I'd make it to this point, but I was ready to begin my new chapter.

Balancing the box that held the last of my belongings on my hip, I slowly turned the brass colored knob and made my way into the room. Setting the box on the bed, I took a minute to take in my new surroundings. The room was larger than you would expect for a dorm. We each had our own twin-size bed and desk sitting straight across from one another. The closets were a fairly decent size and I could detect a light scent of fresh paint, as though they had just finished painting the pale yellow walls.

There was a closed door to my left that I knew led into the adjoining bathroom. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having to shower in a room full of strangers, so the fact that this dorm had adjoining bathrooms—instead of a community bathroom—was already a big plus on my list. The first being that Jessi and I were actually able to room together. I don’t think I could have handled living with a complete stranger for almost an entire year either … I was seriously lacking in the people skills department these days.

Walking over to my bed, I sat down and smiled when the sun coming through the window reflected on the silver bracelet on my slender wrist. Out of habit I flipped through the tiny charms, each one holding a special meaning. I hadn’t taken this bracelet off in six years. It was the only thing I had left of her. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of how proud she would be of me at this moment. Making it to college—doing something that she had not been able to do herself.

Over the past six years I had changed from the carefree, outgoing girl I had once been, to being a shell of my former self. While I missed that part of me and wished I could get her back, I couldn’t help but think she was gone forever. That girl had been stolen from me.

Jessi never gave up hope that I would find my way back to the person I used to be. She was constantly dragging me around with her to a few parties and get-togethers with the people I used to call my friends. But I could always tell the atmosphere would change the minute I stepped into the room. No one knew how to act around me anymore. Jess always tried to tell me it was in my head, but I knew the truth. They all felt sorry for me.

The door to the room flew open and connected with the wall with a loud bang causing the room to slightly vibrate and pulling me from my thoughts. I turned to find Jessi’s back standing in the doorway, her tiny frame trying it’s best to drag one of the four hot pink suitcases she had packed full of God knows what through the door.

“Little help here?” she grunted as she tugged on the suitcase, which must have been hung up on something because even with all her efforts the heavy case didn’t budge.

“I told you not to bring all that crap,” I huffed as I got up from my bed. “Where are you even going to put it all?”

Blowing a piece of her strawberry blonde hair from her forehead, she glared at me. “In your closet … duh. I saw how much you packed up and believe me girl; you’re going to be thanking me for being overly accessorized,” she finished with a wink.

I wrapped my hand around the handle next to hers and pulled. With both of us pulling, the case finally hopped over the small piece of trim that separated the tile floor in the hallway from the hardwood in our dorm allowing Jessi to continue to roll it into the room.

I rolled my eyes and went about unpacking my things. She was kind of right, I didn’t bring much, but, really, what would I need? I was here thanks to a couple scholarships, which meant I would need to buckle down and make sure I studied hard. Studying attire didn’t really consist of more than an old comfy hoodie and sweat pants if you ask me.

“Hey, after we get all this stuff put away you wanna go get a bite to eat? I’m starving,” Jess grunted as she tried forcing a tote that was completely full of shoes under her bed.

Knowing it would be months before we could eat at our favorite hometown pizza place again, we’d stopped to enjoy it one last time before heading out of town. And other than a quick potty break, we didn’t stop again on our five-hour drive here. With Jessi mentioning food, and it being hours since I’d last eaten, my stomach decided to growl so loud that I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole dorm heard it.

“I’ll take that as a yes?” She raised her eyebrow at me and laughed.

I nodded. If I didn’t get something to eat soon I would probably be tempted to eat the umpteen amounts of flavored lip gloss I knew Jessi was packing somewhere in this disaster of a mess we … I mean she created.

I walked across the room and grabbed one of her totes, sending up a silent prayer this one would not hold the lip gloss I was just thinking about. Even though piña colada flavored gloss was extremely tasty, I was quite positive that it was not meant to be digested.

“Let me help you or I’ll die of starvation before you get all your stuff away.”

Not knowing where the local hotspots were, we decided to try a café we’d passed on our drive in. It was just around the corner from campus and the weather was perfect for the short walk.

“Mmm, mmm. Oh God. Is your sandwich as good as mine? Or am I just that hungry?”

Looking around, I found Jessi’s sandwich moans had earned us a few pleased looks from a table of guys sitting across the café.

Leaning in across our table I whispered, “Could you please keep your sandwich orgasms down to a minimum? You’re giving that table over there a free show.” I slightly nodded my head in the direction of the delighted audience still staring at us.

Having no shame, Jessi spun all the way around in her chair and stared straight at a table of decent looking guys sitting across the café and winked.

“Gah, Jess? Really?”

“What? The one in the blue is super cute.” She shrugged and turned back to face me again, popping a potato chip into in her mouth.

Glancing back to the table I could see the one in the blue was actually quite attractive with his dirty blond hair styled to look like he had just crawled out bed. His blue shirt was a perfect match to his eyes, eyes that were currently starting straight at the back of Jessi’s head.

I slightly raised my chin in his direction and lowered my voice, “Well, I think you made a fan over there. He hasn’t stopped looking at you.”